How do people wiggle their ears?

This question has been bugging me for probably all 18 years of my existence. Ive always known some people can wiggle their ears and some can’t (with me being in the latter category) but I never figured out why. This question brought new passion to me when this past weekend, while me and some friends were at dinner, my friend started wiggling his ears. Now it’s time to find out: how do people wiggle their ears?

Using my basic knowledge of science, I can generally assume that some people can wiggle their ears because the muscles in that area are somehow active and the nerve responses can travel to the brain, allowing the person to wiggle them, like how they would scrunch up their nose or wag their finger. According to The Tech, people are able to wiggle their ears through the muscles that surround your ear behind your earlobe, from above to behind your earlobe. These muscles are commonly used in animals that rely a lot on hearing, such as rabbits, dogs, and horses.

So why can (some) humans wiggle their ears? It’s uncertain.

Also according to The Tech, it is possible that their is a hereditary link to ear wiggling, similar to the way that if one or both parents have blue eyes, the odds of their child having blue eyes would be greatly increased. When applied to ear wiggling, if one or both parents can wiggle their ears, the chances of their child being able to wiggle his/her ears is greatly increased.

But what about the people who don’t have parents that can wiggle their ears?

The Tech mentions that while having the possible hereditary link can help people learn how to wiggle their ears, it is possible that anyone can learn how to do so. With the help of various online tutorials, it is likely that anyone willing to try can learn how. That being said, there is a lot of controversy and uncertainty as to how exactly the talent is carried on/presented.

Why would people need to wiggle their ears in the first place?

Studies show that our ancestors might have had to wiggle their ears at one point, but as evolution occurred and time passed, the trait became futile. An example of this would be the appendix – it might’ve had important use in the past, but now it’s no longer needed.

I hope this helped anyone that has been asking the same question I’e been asking for most of my life. In the end, if you really want to figure out how to wiggle your ears, chances are a wikihow tutorial could be the most helpful option.

Photo source: here

Web source: here

4 thoughts on “How do people wiggle their ears?

  1. Grace Anne Walker

    I love your insight on people being able to wiggle their ears. I cannot wiggle my ears and it always amazed me how people did it. Also, anyone who wiggles their ears always looks like their straining their faces while doing it. I also wonder what our ancestors might have needed this skill for. No one in my family can wiggle their ears so that could explain my hereditary link of why I cannot wiggle my ears. When I do not know how to do something I naturally look it up on wiki how but this one might be tricky to learn. Here is a link if you’re curious on how to wiggle your ears!

  2. Heather Grace McDermott

    Hi Meaghan! This was a really cool post to read. You used really good sources and it was extremely easy to follow. I too have always wondered why some people can wiggle their ears and others cannot. I personally can’t. I also cant touch my tongue to my nose or raise only one eyebrow. It is weird to think that some people can genetically do things that others can’t. You pointed out that our ancestors once may of had a reason why they needed to wiggle their ears. My guess would be that since they used to live in the wild, like any other animal today, they needed to move our ears in order to hear certain sounds. I came across an interesting article that connects how our ears used to work like a dog’s.

  3. Xueyao Cao

    It is an interesting topic to talk about. I actually self taught myself some days and became able with it. Also, I not only can wiggle my ears, but also can do it separately with one stable and one moving. Before reading your blog, I thought everyone might have the chance to do the same thing. However as I think about what you have mentioned that people having the hereditary link would be possible for them to learn it themselves, I recalled that my mom could wiggle her ears as well. My case certainly fits in your explanation, but it might only be an anecdote, since I never met someone else who did the same thing. I read this link ( found out that there are different cases with some people could only wiggle one ear and some could only do both at the same time. I think the mechanism behind this could be another interesting thing to discover about.

    1. Olivia Helen DeArment

      This topic can relate to individuals with unique talents. I went through a phase where I would try all these different quirks only to be disappointed with no outcome. I think the comment connecting this with genetics or it being hereditary is intriguing, and I think it is possible. However, I do believe that this talent can be due to chance on its own and practicing skills until they are achieved. For example, no one in my family can roll their tongue and for years I couldn’t either. After practice and seeing others do it I finally learned to do it on my own. This article explains some talents and how they arise in a lot of individuals.

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